On Obliteration

An Interview with Françoise Armengaud Concerning the Work of Sacha Sosno

Emmanuel Levinas

On Obliteration

Emmanuel Levinas

Distributed for Diaphanes

Translated by Richard A. Cohen.  With a Foreword by Johannes Bennke and an Epilogue by Dieter Mersch
108 pages | 15 halftones | 4 1/2 x 7 1/2 | © 2019
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9783035801446 Published August 2019 N/F/S Belgium, France & Luxembourg
Emmanuel Levinas’s interview with Françoise Armengaud in 1988 is one of the only statements we have from the philosopher, who became influential in various disciplines through his ethics that focuses on the fine arts specifically. Presented in English for the first time here, this interview brings us Levinas’s understanding of “obliteration” as an uncanny, disruptive, and even “unavailable” concept. Discussing the work of the French sculptor Sacha Sosno, Levinas parses the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics, examining how they play out in artistic operations and practices. In doing so, he turns away from the “ease and lighthearted casualness of the beautiful” to shed light instead on the processes of material wear and tear and the traces of repair that go into the creation and maintenance of works of art, and which ultimately give them a profound uniqueness of presence. This evocative interview uncovers a hidden thread of aesthetic thinking in Levinas’s work and introduces a new way of looking at artistic practices in general.
 
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